Today we will look at some parental guidelines, penned by Moses himself. (I wonder where he learned such good things. Who was his example? Maybe Jochobed?)
1. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” You must have your own spiritual life: deep, sincere, real, and vital. We cannot fake this. If you want your children to be zealous, you must be. A fire isn’t passed on from a smoking coal. The wind needs to blow and kindle a fresh flame. Get on your face and seek Him if there is no fire in you to pass on to them. Your walk with Him must be real; what they experience will be the overflow.
2. “You shall teach them diligently to your children…” With constant effort and attention, we are to instruct our children in His ways. This will not accomplished through haphazard attempts but through a systematic and thorough approach. His words need to penetrate their hearts, effect their actions and thoughts, and mold their worldview. Memorization, study, explanation, and practiced applications are all necessary components. We must be consistent and intentional, with great perseverance investing in this effort.
3. “…and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” This speaks of a more informal approach, which is also needed. Spontaneous moments of teaching; sharing words of wisdom pertinent to the situation at hand; talking with them about what God has been teaching you personally; hearing from them about their recent discoveries and experiences; helping them relate their life happenings to the Word of God and finding the applicable wisdom — this is the stuff of walking together, living life together, learning from one another. And as seen in our text, it is non-stop. From sunup to sundown, His truth should be emanating from our actions, thoughts, and words, transmitting life-giving principles upon which they might build their lives. That includes the truth of repentance and forgiveness, which, if you are like me, they will have ample opportunity to see practiced before their very eyes. My children do know this: where to turn when sin has captured you. They have witnessed Mom, time and again, find grace and mercy from Him.
4. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Let your actions reflect the Word, let your mind meditate upon them, let your eyes take in His words and focus on truth alone.
If we love our children we will provide them with the truth essential to successful living. Successful living is, of course, accomplishing His purposes, not our own. Because His purposes are so much higher, they must learn to walk in His ways. We could want nothing less for those we love.